Originally Published: August 18, 2007 8:25 a.m.
Several weeks ago, my parents arrived in Prescott after driving cross-country from Long Island, N.Y. They called on a Monday morning from Flagstaff and I was surprised to learn they were less than two hours away; we were not expecting them for several more days.
I tried to do the math in my head: 1,800-square-feet of house divided by 120 minutes = 20 minutes per room, plus vacuuming and dusting. It was doable only if I did not go into work. Paid time off is a blessing.
I had booked my parents for one week at a "famous" downtown hotel. It was actually difficult to find a place that had seven consecutive nights - given that this is tourist season. My parents were not especially thrilled with the small, pseudo-deco decorated room, but the made-to-order, free breakfast each morning really scored points.
The first stop on this whirlwind tour was, and I hate to admit it, Wal-Mart. My parents always feel the need to buy stuff - this has been going on since my college days at Ohio State, when my refrigerator contained little more than coffee beans and cottage cheese. So, my dad bought some new shirts and diet soda, and my mom sprang for chips and Pinot Grigio.
By the time we arrived at Mi Casa, it was that dreaded in-between time, too late for lunch and too early for dinner. By 5 p.m., we were entertaining the idea of eating, just not right then. We had to compromise on the time, because typically I don't even get home until after 6 - so we settled on 6:30. That first night was the start of monsoon season, and mom and dad were not willing to venture out into the storm. We ate at a restaurant overlooking Gurley Street. My dad, after all "was said and eaten," expressed disappointed with his rainbow trout.
Miles, my husband, began a part-time gig as a tour guide for my parents. Miles met my folks at Sharlot Hall, and that was a big hit. Then it rained, so the walking tour around courthouse plaza did not happen.
They tried to make it to the Smoki Museum, but arrived a mere 10 minutes before closing time, and everyone called the day a wash. Later, we had a wonderful Italian dinner, and dad was so thrilled to be back in a typically New York ethnic restaurant that he could not decide what to have. One caveat, dad is diabetic and is supposed to refrain from generous helpings of pasta and bread. Let's just say he enjoyed his meal.
Mom and Dad wanted to venture out of town, so Miles drove them over Mingus Mountain to Jerome. My mom hasn't been much of a walker ever since her hip replacement surgery, so strolling up and down the hills in Jerome was out of the question. Miles took them to the museum, though, and they seemed to like seeing how much the town has changed since its mining heyday.
Mom also enjoyed her nap during the video presentation. The last stop was the Grand Hotel, for an alcohol-free lunch at the Asylum. The clouds were rolling in by then, with the requisite thunder and lightning, and Miles thought it best that they beat it back down 89 and its curves before the deluge struck. Miles and I hit Lyzzard's that night, while mom and dad did their own thing at the hotel restaurant.
This turned out to be pretty much of a wild goose chase of a day. They did make it to the Smoki but really, how many hours could Miles keep them occupied there? They got a kick out of the entire Smoki experience, and sat mesmerized in front of the video screen, pushing one button after another and listening to the talking heads expound on what it all meant, pro and con.
Miles had wanted them to see the Phippen Museum, and figured a short drive to Chino Valley would be in order, to show them the house he and I had almost purchased, followed by lunch in town. Unfortunately, the Phippen was setting up its new cowboy art exhibit and was not open to the public, and how much can you learn about a potential house by doing the drive-by thing? To top it off, Miles completely forgot that Doreen's in Chino Valley kitchen did not open until 4 p.m., but at least they got to see the place.
Friday was walking tour day. They made it to the Chamber of Commerce building in time to take the tour, but mom's legs gave out three-quarters of the way around the square. Luckily, the Cortez Street benches provided rest for the weary, and the scent of cooking
burgers emanating from Kendall's enticed them inward for sustenance. That was pretty much it for the day, except for a movie and some shopping at Frontier Village. Hoo-hah! Then it was back to our place, a movie and a nap on the couch until I got home from work. We did manage to have another nice dinner, this time at the Gurley St. Grill.
Ah, another travel day. Miles and I thought it would be nice to show my parents the sights of Sedona, but hadn't quite taken into account the Saturday morning travel time to get to the fabled red rocks. Plus, when we finally arrived, the sun was out in all its benevolent fury, and the temperature had risen to - gasp - near 90 degrees. We took them to see the Chapel of the Holy Cross, which turned out to be the extent of the sightseeing tour. The entire walking thing, you know. Mom wanted to take a golf cart to the top of the hill, so Miles and I said, "see ya later" and walked on. After that exhilarating and enervating experience, all mom and dad wanted to do was to sit in the shade.
We made it as far as Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village where we had a nice Mexican meal. Well, at least Miles and I had fun; mom and dad found fault with the quantity and consistency of nearly everything they had ordered.
No alcohol-free meal this time, if you know what I mean. By the time was got back home from our strenuous day, we had more merriment in store for us. Mom had decided she had to see the Arizona Revue at the Elks Theater, so Miles and I went along. Miles and I were about the youngest patrons in the audience.
My cousins live in Phoenix and Michele is my mom's godchild. They haven't seen each other in 35 years. For whatever reason, my mom was hesitant to establish a time for visiting. After much angst, the cousins arrived and we had a great afternoon at The Gurley St. Grill. Gotta love family.
Free at Last! I love them to death, but this had been a non-stop week of entertainment and merriment. We joined the folks for a goodbye breakfast at the hotel.
Because their hotel room had a non-stop case of toilet mold, the management was accommodating enough to soothe their complaint with two free breakfast vouchers. I was embarrassed that I had recommended this hotel and that my parents weren't happy with it.
At least they could return to New York with all kinds of stories about the Wild West. They left tons of diet soda, but the Pinot Grigio is gone.
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